But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

The opening scenes of the Bible challenge us to think about who God is and whether He can be trusted. And that is the very essence of what the Bible means by faith.

God is presented in Genesis 1 as the Creator of all things. As Creator, He is seen as all-powerful, commanding the elements to do His will and they immediately do His bidding: “God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). God is also seen as the source of goodness: “And God saw the light, that it was good” (v. 4). And God is seen as One who makes distinctions between things that differ: “And God divided the light from the darkness” (v. 4). Within the Scriptures, this principle of distinguishing between things that differ informs our understanding of God’s holiness, so, all down through the chapter, God’s power, goodness, and holiness are emphasised.

But by chapter 3 of Genesis, these same characteristics of God are challenged by Satan and doubted by Adam and Eve. As a result, two questions emerge. Is God really good? And can God really be trusted? And these challenges and questions still persist today.

While the number of people who identify themselves as atheists continues to grow, the Bible says that those who deny God’s existence “suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them” (Romans 1:18-20). Since creation around us and conscience within us are constant witnesses to God’s goodness, wisdom, power and holiness, it requires constant effort to suppress that truth. As the apostle Paul told polytheistic idolaters, God “did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17).

This good, powerful and holy God desires that we know Him and enter into relationship with Him. And He promises to reward us if we diligently seek Him. That does not mean we need to climb mountains or cross oceans or accomplish great feats of daring. Rather, God has set each of us in the perfect place that we might “reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27, NIV).